The game focuses mainly on hand-to-hand combat, firearms and melee weapons cannot be purchased from vendors or kept in any type of inventory. Instead, weapons are either acquired during certain missions or dropped/disarmed from Triad enemies, Police or normal citizens. Additionally, players may find a firearm or melee weapon inside of certain Lockboxes and vehicle trunks. Some weapons can be permanently found in Safehouses by installing specific DLC or by completing all story missions to get a Golden .50 Pistol.
Wei Shen is able to hold onto firearms as long as there is ammunition to be used. Once a firearm runs empty, he will automatically discard it. Similarly, melee weapons are discarded or destroyed once they lose their durability. Handguns can be holstered while larger firearms and melee weapons cannot. 2 weapons can be carried simultaneously as long as the player holsters a pistol first. Otherwise, Wei will swap his pistol for the other weapon. Should the player walk around with an unholstered firearm or certain melee weapons, civilians will run in fear and vendors will refuse to service Wei until the weapon is holstered or discarded. Having certain weapons in view of police will raise Wei's wanted level.
Wei may also hold onto weapons picked up in missions, providing that the mission does not automatically remove the weapon from Wei after completion. Additionally, some missions will remove Wei's weapons before he starts them. Due to bugs, weapons may also be removed from Wei for unknown reasons. Regardless, saving the game with a weapon and then loading the save will often replenish some ammunition (to firearms) or durability (to melee weapons).
Melee weapons are the most common in the game. When combat begins, some enemies may show up with a melee weapon; most commonly a meat cleaver. While dealing more damage to Wei than unarmed attacks, these weapons can be disarmed from enemies and quickly dispatch even the most powerful enemies. Using melee weapons also helps boost your Triad XP more so than unarmed combat during story missions. The player can also throw his melee weapon and usually eliminate an enemy easily by holding the attack button while targeting an them (only for certain weapons, such as a butcher knife or tire iron). There is a bug however, that makes enemies immune to thrown weapons during certain periods of combat. Also, using a weapon repeatedly will degrade and render itself useless, after which Wei will automatically discard it.
Additionally, fighting with a melee weapon will change certain combat mechanics. Depending on the melee weapon, Wei is limited to a specific moveset of striking attacks. Some melee weapons allow Wei to perform both light/heavy strikes as well as combos, while some melee weapons will have more limited options. However, while trying to grapple with any type of melee weapon equipped, Wei will instead grab the enemy and strike the enemy with his melee weapon once. Also, Wei can only dodge enemy melee attacks, rather than counter them.
- Butcher/Kitchen Knife
- Cleaver (used by Mrs. Chu in the missions Mrs. Chu's Revenge and Final Kill)
- Cooking Wok
- Fish (unlocks A Slap in the Face)
- Golden Meat Cleaver(*) (Triad Enforcer Pack DLC)
- Hand Grinder(*) (used in the mission Dockyard Heist)
- Lightning Warrior Sword (Screen Legends Pack DLC, only if Wei is wearing the Lightning Warrior outfit)
- Machete (used by Liu Shen Tong in the mission The Election)
- Retractable Combat Baton(*) (Law Enforcer Pack DLC)
- Shopping Bag
- Tire Iron (^)
(*) = Weapons that have infinite use during certain missions.
(^) = Also found in some vehicle trunks.
Environmental hazards are immovable objects that Wei uses to his advantage by either: running grabbed enemies into the environmental hazard or grabbing an enemy and then hitting the grapple button when prompted in front of an environmental hazard. When grappling an enemy, most environmental hazards will be highlighted in red, but some will not. Most of these environmental hazards can only be used once and then become unusable. Certain environmental hazards act as finishing moves while some simply serve to only damage enemies. Additionally, some hazards may require a successful quick time event.
The Environmentalist achievement is acquired by performing 5 unique environmental kills.
- Air vents
- Beheaded Swordfish Stack
- Chandelier Rope
- Drywall Sheets
- Eel Tank
- Electrical Generators/Boxes
- Elevator Doors
- Fire Grill(**)
- Garbage dumpsters
- Hanging Meat Hooks
- Lamp Wire Cable
- Oven Cooktop
- Phone Booths
- Refrigerator Doors
- Sauna Hot Rocks(**)
- Spiked Poles
- Table Saws(**)
- Temple Water Basin(^)
- Temple Large Water Vase
- Temple Gong(^)
- Vending Machines
- Vehicles (doors, trunks)(*)
- Vehicle Engine (hoisted on a lift)
- Window Shutters
- Fire Barrel (^) (Nightmare in North Point DLC)
(^)=Reusable environmental hazards.
- Temple gong
(*)=Environmental hazards that are not highlighted red upon grabbing a hold of a victim.
(**)=Environmental hazards that may require a successful attempted quick time event to finish off an enemy.
Firearms do not play a major part of the Sleeping Dogs underworld until midway to later in the game. In the mission Chain of Evidence, Thomas Pendrew informs Wei that guns are a rarity in Hong Kong, and the game follows suit with that credo. With the exception of certain DLC content, guns are not used casually by enemies or Wei Shen. Each firearm provides different attributes, such as damage and accuracy, and some may have attachments like Tactlight (flashlight) or grenade launcher (the latter is found only on assault rifles and Rico Rodriguez 's signature revolver).
With a firearm equipped, Wei can still perform some unique combat moves. By pressing the strike or melee command with a weapon equipped, Wei can still kick close range enemies. When performing a running attack, Wei will execute either a unique jumping triple-kick or shoulder-butt, depending on the type of firearm equipped. By trying to grapple, Wei will turn a grabbed enemy (or civilian) into a temporary human shield, while retaining the ability to fire. While having a human shield, performing a strike or melee will make Wei fire a round into his human shield's leg, damaging them. Also, Wei can only dodge enemy melee attacks, rather than counter them.
Besides shooting at enemies, Wei can also destroy various explosive objects, such as vehicles, explosive barrels and fire extinguishers to damage or kill anyone inside the blast radius (including himself). With a firearm equipped, Wei can also enter slow-motion, allowing him to target and shoot enemies faster while aiming. This ability generally expires after a few seconds, but can be extended by performing headshots. This slow-motion aiming may be triggered while aiming with a firearm; such as vaulting from cover, performing a high jump in a vehicle, or aiming at an enemy vehicle while driving. It should be noted that this slow motion ability has unlimited use while driving. Through Police XP upgrades, slow motion can also be triggered by disarming an enemy, using a melee attack on an enemy, or leaping from a vehicle while aiming. While leaping from said vehicle, Wei will automatically target the gas tank, which will explode when fired upon.
The Gun Nut achievement is acquired by defeating enemies with 10 different firearms. Each variation of each firearm will count toward the achievement: for example, killing an enemy with the .45cal SMG and then killing another enemy with the .45cal SMG w/ Taclight attachment will count as two different firearms toward the total of ten.
- 9mm Pistol (Heckler & Koch USP)
- Found on HKPD police officers. Police will begin to use them at a Heat level of 2 if the player draws out a gun or gets into a vehicle.
- .45cal Pistol (Heckler & Koch USP )
- Only used in the mission Meet the New Boss by Lee's men.
- .45cal Pistol w/ Taclight (Heckler & Koch USP)
- Common among armed Triads.
- Silver .50cal Pistol (Desert Eagle)
- First being used in the mission Meet the New Boss. It does not appear in any future mission.
- Golden .50cal Handgun(Desert Eagle, also used by Winston Chu and Ponytail)
- .45cal SMG (Heckler & Koch UMP9)
- .45cal SMG w/ Taclight (Heckler & Koch UMP9)
- Common from armed Triads and HKPD SWAT.
- Golden .45cal SMG (Heckler & Koch UMP9)
- Machine Pistol (Heckler & Koch MP7)
- Anti-Riot Shotgun (Hawk Semi-Auto)
- Anti-Riot Shotgun w/ Taclight (Hawk Semi-Auto)
- First used in the mission Civil Discord.
- Pump Shotgun (Hawk Type 97-1)
- Common from armed Triads, HKPD PTU, or police car trunks with Trunk Key Cop Upgrade. Cannot be obtained if Wei is wearing the cultist outfit.
- Assault Rifle (QBZ-95)
- Assault Rifle w/ Taclight (QBZ-95)
- Assault Rifle w/ Grenade Launcher (fictional L85A2 & TAR-21 w/M320)
Police Protection Pack
- SWAT Assault Rifle (fictional bullpup FAMAS & Heckler & Koch G36C)
- Only available in the High Speed mission.
Triad Enforcer Pack
- Golden Meat Cleaver
- Available in the trunk of the Triad Enforcer Car and also during the mission, Death by a Thousand Cuts.
- Has infinite durability, although it will be lost if Wei gets killed or arrested or if he participates in a Martial Arts Club while armed with the Meat Cleaver.
- Cannot be obtained if Wei is wearing the cultist outfit as he will still plant a bomb on the trunk of the Triad Enforcer Car and will be prompted to detonate the bomb.
- Gold .45cal SMG (Heckler & Koch UMP9)
- Used in the Triad Highway mission.
Tactical Soldier Pack
- Assault Rifle w/ Grenade Launcher (fictional L85A2 & TAR-21 w/ fictional M320)
- Available in any safehouse.
Ghost Pig Pack
- Golden .50cal (Desert Eagle)
- Available in any safehouse, after completing the main story, although it will not appear if the player changes Wei into any outfit that gives him a weapon.
- Lightning Warrior Sword
- Available in any safehouse.
- Has infinite durability, although Wei will still lose it if he gets killed, arrested or participates in a Martial Arts Club while wearing the Lightning Warrior outfit and is armed with the Sword.
Nightmare in North Point
- Peach Wood Sword
Square Enix Character Pack
- Rico Rodriguez's Signature Revolver
- Comes with Rico Rodriguez's Outfit, can shoot bullets and grenades.
- Silver Baller Pistol
- Comes with Agent 47's Outfit, a silenced firearm.
- FR-27 Rifle
- Comes with Sarif Industries Armor
Law Enforcer Pack
- Retractable Combat Baton
- Comes with Police Investigation Outfit
Year of the Snake Pack
- Shock Pistol
- Available with any police Outfit.
- Tear Gas Launcher
- Available with SDU Gear Outfit. Also available in any safehouse in the main story after completing the Year Of The Snake Pack.
- Originally, the 9mm pistol was designed to resemble a Walther P99 . However, the idea must have been scrapped.
- An easy way to obtain a 9mm pistol is to unlock Fast Disarm, a Police XP upgrade, and then attack a police officer. The police officer will draw his pistol on Wei, which can be taken by simply grappling him. At this point, holster the pistol, run from any pursuing police forces, and reduce your current heat level back down to zero to trigger an auto-save.
- An easy way to obtain a .45cal pistol w/ Taclight attachment is to go to the Sun Yat Housing Complex (a Drug Bust hangout), just outside of Wei's apartment in Kennedy Town. There's one sitting on top of a shipping crate. Some Triads here also carry .45cal SMGs' w/ Taclight. Since this is one of the few drug busts with gun-wielding Triads, both the pistol and the gang members will respawn whenever Wei returns to the area. However, once the drug bust is completed (at the point where the camera is hacked), this weapon will no longer respawn.
- A consistent method to always have a shotgun without gaining a wanted level is to have a police car in your personal garage (rewarded by completing Cop Jobs with the Law Enforcer Pack installed) and the "Police Trunk Key" from Police XP unlocked. This perk allows you to steal a shotgun from any police car, including your own. Simply getting your vehicle from the garage or getting the Car valet to deliver it gives you a shotgun to take.
- The environmental kill involving throwing an enemy down an elevator shaft is the only one that isn't needed to progress the game, while the environmental kill involving the use of light bulb is the only one that is seen only once, and can be done only once.
- Wei cannot obtain a weapon from the trunk of a car if he is wearing the cultist outfit as he will plant a bomb in the trunk and the game will prompt the player to detonate the bomb.
- http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Sleeping_Dogs; Internet Movie Firearms Database - Sleeping Dogs